Thursday, November 12, 2009

Moving to Ireland and Some Irish Wisdom

I spent nine years in Cork,Ireland.
That meant taking a strong and distinct
Boston accent and grinding and merging
it with a Cork accent...'what the F?

There were times after I first moved there
that I thought...this sure as hell aint English;-)
But, at least it's not a Glasgow accent

Our family had moved from a lovely
place-Jeffersonville/Cambridge, Vermont...
just trees, dirt roads, deer,moose,bears, cows, sheep
...and even more when you got off the highway;-)

I went to Ireland with my children in June, 1997
and my wife(divorced now) followed in September
after assisting with sending over belongings etc.

Being a Marine grunt(rifleman, or if you prefer...
'bullet stopper') in the Viet Nam War i knew,
instinctively how to orient myself(no, like most
Marines I was lost with a feckin compass-just instinct).
We first moved to a place at the corner of Rutland
and Douglas Street.

To help give a sense of direction of our location
relative to city centre to our children, Kyle, 15
and Nora, 12 (at the time)...and not get lost... I
told them that if they were confused to just follow the
puke marks on the sidewalk any Friday, Saturday or
Sunday morning;-)

What I didn't/don't like about the city, or any city
after living in the country for 10 years...was that I
always had to find an 'appropriate place' to piss:-)
i will when i log off.

In Vermont I just had to walk into the tree line, or behind
a big in Viet Nam. Sometimes, I want/or try to
cheat on the 'appropriate place thing';-) It's in my nature
to go against the grain...stretch the rules...'if you don't get
caught you didn't do anything' as a Marine buddy once
said:-) But, in the Marines I also knew that even if caught...
deny, deny, was me...and it was like i didn't get

I almost got caught when studying law at UCC, but I sure
as hell didn't want to explain myself to the Dean...CF(much
less be seen doing it...but believe me I would come up with an
inventive 'I wasn't doing that. Oh no, not me...
I was just adjusting my zipper...hadn't know it was open...
till someone just pointed it out and I was '). No cheating!
Damn...hey dogs can!!!

There was a spot behind the law faculty building with
a dumpster of some sort, and some small brush and a
tree or two. I always wanted to do it there...just because
it was there...and to get away with it....there's an 'imp'
inside me;-) And, i'm good at watching all around me...the
buildings, their windows, passing people, and anyone unexpected.
It's the game.

Most of the people I grew up with in the States were either
Irish, or Italian-American...mostly Irish-American and there
was a similarity to the humour. Also surviving Viet Nam and
being a Marine...the humour gets a little twisted.

And being mostly Irish(3/4)...alcohol was used to celebrate
every event in life. Hey, you didn't even need an event...why
if you felt happy, or sad...that was reason enough:-) I remember
being at the graveyard after my (maternal) grandfather died
(from Spiddal). The priest was droning on about whatever, and
I heard my uncle Bill (a Boston cop-and great guy) whisper to his
son...'Is the beer on ice'?... you're it cold enough?...etc and
something about did he buy the extra case(s)'?

Serious drinkers like my relatives like to toast each other,
but even as a boy I knew that they watched each other's
consumption...they didn't want their generosity being taken
abused;-) they wanted more for themselves. Blood may be
thicker than water...but it's a terrible mixer for drinks;-))

I always like events(picnics, barbecues etc) because you
could be sure that my uncles would have many beer bottles
and glasses half full on tables...and at some point they would
go to the bathroom, and that's how I got my beer for years:-)
...aged 5-6 to 12 or so.

My father was a Marine Corps veteran of WWII, and saw
things that haunted him till his end...I know what that can be like,
but I was in combat much less...but there was 'night terror'-
Sapper attacks in the A Shau valley (the valley of death) on
LZ (or Fire Support Base [FSB])Cunningham.

As my father's drinking problem grew into alcoholism I
wasn't like other kids. I had to be sharper. My dad used to
smell my breath when I came home on a weekend night.
So, I had to drink during the day if I wanted know,

In the winter I hid my nips(baby bottles-Irish) in the snowbank
behind the local supermarket. It wouldn't freeze, but I was caught
drinking a nip of Chivas Regal by my chemistry teacher. All he
actually said was 'Mr. Meuse, I can't see that'. I understood that,
but that was it. If it wasn't for my dealing the weekly football cards
(illegal gambling) some teachers(hey, it sure helps when you don't
have a fecking clue about math or chemistry!!)...he might have
sent me to the principal:-)

I will to the end of days owe a certain Dave O'C an apology.
We were studying for an Administrative law exam as part of
our L.L.B. Dave studied.

I didn't really know how to study. I studied at the Cork city
library because I could look out the window at the women...or
anything that would distract me from studying...god it's
boring...and probably having PTSD affects concentration.

So when really bored I think of things. And, I do remember
my drill instructor (DI) at Parris Island, Marine Corps Recruit
Depot saying that it was dangerous for us to think, and we had
to have permission to do so(combat, an exception)... so I text
Dave to ask if he got the message yet from our teacher DGM...
that due to family or other circummstances the exams had
to be rescheduled-set back two weeks.

Who wouldn't think that it was great news??? And, it
felt great giving someone good news. Doesn't it??

I try not to lie, so when dave text back to ask if it was
true...i said he may not have gotten the notice yet.
Dave gave himself a two day holiday so to speak(from
the books). It made me feel good to make someone else
feel good:-))

I, however, was still studying, because for me, 8 hours in
the library meant looking at ass(of course, I mean the donkeys
walking by on market day...I hope you didn't think???...God, no,
I'm Catholic;-) for several hours....playing other pranks and coming
out with 2-3 hours total.

Once I saw a local politician put the handicap sign in the window
of his car, and called the Evening Echo. I thought that it was was
great!! Hey it was a distraction, but they did nothing...anything
but study.

Two days later I got a text from Dave that said something
about me being some kind of a 'fecker'?..and 'that sh-t wasn't
funny'. I wasn't sure which thing he meant because he wasn't
the only one:-) well...i did I guess.

I also liked to call people's (Dave's et al) cell phone whilst
in class to watch them scramble. I'm a bad student. I like fun.

For me, growing up in an alcoholic family, school was an escape
and a place to fool around.

In Catholic primary school outside of Boston(I had an 8
year sentence as we used to say) once the nuns had a meeting
with my parents and told them that they didn't know if
I was smart, dumb or what because when I was in class
I just fooled around, looked out the window(daydreaming...
cuz the sh-t was boring), didn't complete many assignments
...but barely passed.

But i believed in further education and did try to obtain
materials beyond the classroom that helped my
understanding of the subject.

When a priest was sent to teach us the 'Facts of Life' in the
8th grade...I sat at the back of the class and had my own
educational materials to explain what he was saying. Then,
the nun (who I think was listening too from the cloak room)
opened the door next to me, pulled my ear,(and me out of
my seat and into the cloak room with her and the priest...Oh Oh)
and took the Playboy magazine from me(Thank God it wasn't
'Hustler'...this had Real articles;-) and scolded me;-) The priest
was more forgiving, and he just said that he would have to take it.
(I always wondered if that magazine was added to a secret collection
for new one might say to a new one 'This is
vintage 1963).

It wasn't mine, and I wouldn't offer up any names:-) Name, rank
and serial number...that's all. 'I said I just found it in my desk and
didn't know how it got there. Smack. same answer, and an 'honest'
for good measure. Smack, smack. They weren't going to call my father...
they knew he was a drinker...and I had looked all over the house to
no avail. Alcoholism and Catholic school were good preparation for
Marine Corps boot camp.

So as I've shot myself a bit in the foot...I leave the reader with some
nice quotes by Irish writers and wits.

“I saw a notice which said, 'Drink Canada Dry' and I've just started.”
Brendan Behan

Notice on a Cork building site:'The shovels haven't arrived, and until
they do, you'll have to lean on each other'. (I love this one)

''When you wet the bed, first it is warm then it gets cold''. James Joyce
('Portrait of the artist as a Young Man' p.1).

Being Irish, I have an abiding sense of tragedy which sustains me
through temporary periods of joy.W.B. Yeats (brilliant)

My way of joking is to tell the truth. it's the funniest joke in the world."
George Bernard Shaw.

He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows
everything. That points clearly to a political career.
George Bernard Shaw

Bigamy is having one wife too many.
Marriage is the same.Oscar Wilde

That's the Irish people all over - they treat a joke
as a serious thing, and a serious thing as a joke.
Sean O'Casey

And God said, 'Let there be light' and there was light,
but the Electricity Board said He would have to wait
until Thursday to be connected.Spike Milligan

Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior
to all other countries because you were born in it.
George Bernard Shaw.

Again, sorry Dave. seriously:-)

And Owen, I it was me who called your boss from the
Library and told him to check your breathe and eyes cuz
I saw you walking into the park on your break to get stoned:-)
he-Hassan just laughed...uncooperative.

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